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Monkey Goggles: An Owner’s Manual

4 February 2010 One Million Watts 4,250 views No CommentPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

Welcome to Monkey Goggles! Whether you’re a regular reader or just coming to this literary and pop culture blog for the first time, we thank you for reading. As this publication enters its seventh month online, we think the time is ripe to explain a bit about this blog — where it came from, what it’s all about, and how you can don the Goggles your own personal self.

First off: Monkey Goggles doesn’t have an ironclad set of rules. The blog is in the process of defining itself; we haven’t had years and years to create what media pundits call “the narrative.” When we started the blog in the summer of 2009, we had only one goal: to “present the world as we see it and ignore the things we find boring,” in the words of co-founder David Wahl. We’re fascinated by little-known histories, odd jobs and strange objects, and we’ve resolved to publish as many articles on those things as we could, while leaving the rest of the media world to puzzle over alternative fuels and Lindsey Lohan.

Monkey Goggles comes to you courtesy of Archie McPhee, the Seattle-based novelty company that brought you this indispensable item; also this one, and this one. You know how Sesame Street is brought to you by the letter A and the number five? It’s kind of like that. McPhee is the wind beneath our flyin’ monkey wings, and we love them to pieces.

Still confused? That makes two of us. Maybe we can learn something from the names of the five categories under which all our stories are filed.

Stories and Appreciations. This heading is pretty much the reason Monkey Goggles exists. We wanted to hear about this stuff. We wanted to hear stories about places we’ve never been, people we’ve never meet and experiences we’ll never have. We want to talk to people about the things that make them passionate, whether it’s a unique collections of kitsch items or a different and thrilling perspective on something everyday, like television or bacon.

One Million Watts. While the collection of ideas that became this publication gelled in our minds, we read “Charlatan” by Pope Brock — and one by one, we fell under the influence of the real-life con man whose story “Charlatan” tells with gusto. John R. Brinkley was a lot of things — an entrepreneur who made a mint selling placebos, a quack doctor who promised broken men a Viagra-like revitalization from the surgical implantation of goat testicles — but we love him best in the role he was always destined to play: as the owner of the nation’s first “blaster” radio station, a 150,000-monster based in Mexico. On clear nights, Brinkley’s bad medical advice and angry rants reached as far as Canada, and also turned on car headlights and made hair stand on end.

You can’t buy that kind of rush today. Sure, you can get a 10 p.m. variety show on NBC, or you can build yourself a web audience on little more than a pout, but you won’t turn on headlights or dazzle the follicles of the unenlightened. In One Million Watts, we dream of such power. We put our rants under this heading, and we imagine them reaching as far as Kathmandu.

Seattle. We may be biased, but we think Seattle is the greatest city in the expanded universe. New York, London, Paris, Coruscant — all are but mere exurbs of our beautiful, lightly-moistened metropolis. Every now and again, we get the urge to brag about Seattle’s charms — or to inveigh against its comparatively few inequities, as Johnny Rotten once did.

Lies and Entertainment. Everything we publish under this heading is arguably true, depending on the strength of one’s belief in the concept of parallel universes. We’ll bet you didn’t know that Abraham Lincoln once wrestled Sasquatch, that bears can speak Spanish, or that off-label use of Axe body spray draws crazed lumberjacks until you read these things in Lies and Entertainment. We usually run L&E stories on Fridays, so you’ll have the entire weekend to think over that new, improved truth.

Things We Like. Every Saturday we take a personal inventory and we ask ourselves, gee whiz, what kind of stuff are we into? We also ask the good people at Scarecrow Video and Elliott Bay Book Company for their perspectives because, let’s face it, we’re kinda weird here at MG — all that talking-to-ourselves and whatnot. And then we publish the results, because we like publishing, too.

Speaking of publishing, we’d sure love to publish your voice on Monkey Goggles. Do you have amazing workplace stories, a great perspective on a lesser-known thing, or a fantastic collections of stuff? We want to hear from you. If we publish your stories, we’ll give you some swell Archie McPhee swag and reciprocal links up the wazoo. If you’re interested, just contact us at [email protected]. Our editor is surly but fair, like Lou Grant … well, mostly, he’s just surly. We’ve been meaning to talk to him about that.

Anyway, we thank you again for reading the fourth-most trusted publication in America, after the New York Times, The Economist and I Can Haz Cheezburger?. We hope we’ve entertained, educated and confused you at least half as much as those other publications — and if we haven’t yet, we hope you’ll hang around until we have confused you. It’s our way.

Geoff Carter

PHOTO BY JENNIFER DICKERT

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